AMERICAS GROW A ROW INC

Rating: 5 stars   37 reviews

Issues: Food, Human Services

Location: 150 Pittstown Rd Pittstown NJ 08867 USA

Mission: America’s Grow-a-Row’s mission is to positively impact as many lives as possible through a volunteer effort of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce. At America’s Grow-a-Row we: • Provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need • Educate people of all generations about hunger and ways to help • Introduce our youth to farming and healthy eating • Cultivate tomorrow’s leaders to give back • Contribute to the sustainability of agriculture
Results: We have delivered over 3 million pounds of free fresh produce (10.8 million servings) since 2002 to those suffering from hunger in NJ. Our goal for 2014 is to donate 1.2 million pounds – or 4.8 million servings – of fresh produce to those in need, to educate 4,000 volunteers at our farm and 4,000 students through our off-the-field lessons, to run 72 Free Farm Markets in impoverished New Jersey cities, and to host 850 children at our farm for Inner-City Youth Days.
Target demographics: feed those in need free fresh produce
Geographic areas served: New Jersey
Programs: Provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need Educate people of all generations about hunger and ways to help Introduce our youth to farming and healthy eating Cultivate tomorrow’s leaders to give back Contribute to the sustainability of agriculture

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

This year our market was off the chain. We had cooking classes with the fresh veggies from the farm. There also was a zumba class teaching healthy living. We served 145 families this year with the veggies from America's grow a row. Thanks Leena and Chip great job keep on what you are doing for the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing at all

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

Our group was invited this summer of 2014 and what an AWESOME time. Thank you "Grow a Row" and may God continue to bless you for blessing us so much!!!!!!!!!
Our children received an opportunity that they never would have been accessible to. HIP!HIP! HOORAY! goes to Mr. Chip and Ms. Leena!!!!
Ms. Maria and the children of Gilmore Christian Academy in Paterson, NJ

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

absolutely nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

As a local community member, I have seen the tremendous growth of America's Grow a Row. I became involved locally with my family, and now I have partnered with them to bring over 50 student-athletes from Seton Hall University to support their cause. Each year we bring our students to the fields to pick vegetables that will end up on the tables of the people in the communities next to our campus. Additionally, a former Seton Hall Legend from the basketball court, Jerry Walker has partnered with Chip to bring kids from the inner city to experience the farm and learn about healthy eating.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My family and I have volunteered with America's Grow A Row in the fields and providing professional advice for providing access to and water for one of their farming sites.

The time spent in the fields is rewarding and great fun! The AGAR staff is extremely efficient in organizing the volunteer efforts, especially the time spent in the field picking produce. Through use of their website and emails, small and large/corporate groups are organized for a few hours of picking produce at various times during the week and weekends. All ages participate and the younger kids have a blast!

It is amazing to watch thousands of pounds of produce go from vine, stalk or tree, into bags by the volunteers, then large boxes which are immediately loaded into trucks for delivery to various food banks and those in need................all in a matter of a few hours!

There are many great opportunities to volunteer including planting, harvesting, transporting, education and fundraising. Involve your families, schools, churches, sports teams, college students/organizations, and corporations/employers. Give back and have fun!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered with America's Grow-a-Row twice through my corporation. It is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Not only do I learn about the rigor it takes to farm the fields (and I always feel that rigor the next morning!), but I see the fruits of our labor get picked up directly from the local food bank. As a team bonding activity for an organization that is aiming to make sustainable living commonplace, this organization always has the team motivated to make a brighter future.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Grow-a-row is a truly fantastic organization. I have been volunteering with them for about 4 years now. It started through my company's United Way program, but has since expanded to include my family, church, and cub scout group.

Grow-a-row makes a lot out of very little. They have a very noble goal - give fresh produce to people who otherwise wouldn't have anything to eat. Most of us are very blessed to be able to eat whatever we want; try fasting for a day, and you will appreciate what Grow-a-Row does!

As a volunteer, they use your time very efficiently - you can plant beans, harvest corn, gather fruit, and so on. I have picked cabbage (very hard), tomatoes and green beans (pretty easy), and corn (kind of in between). I planted green bean seeds on what was probably the hottest day of the year, and I've picked corn in weather than can best be described as a monsoon. (I've also had plenty of good weather experiences!). I have never regretted a minute of the time spent with Grow-a-row.

Much of what they do is "glean" - go through fields or orchards after the owner has harvested the prime vegetables or fruits, but there is still plenty of good produce available. The "gleaners" go through and gather all of that produce, all of which is perfectly acceptable food and otherwise would have gone to waste. That is an outstanding use of resources, both natural and volunteer.

Grow-a-row also makes excellent use of the financial contributions they get. They aren't driving fancy trucks and buying new machines. They stretch every dollar as far as they can, buying second-hand tractors and so on.

Their educational components is also excellent. Each time we take our cub scouts, the boys learn about vegetable, produce, nutrition, and more. Their program with inner city youth is absolutely fantastic.

Finally, I served on the board of directors of the United Way of Hunterdon County. Through that experience, I got to know quite a few non-profit organizations. While UWHC sponsors many great agencies, I believe America's Grow-a-Row is one of the best, if not the best. They have excellent leadership, they are financially very smart, and make fantastic use of volunteer time.

I can't say enough good things about America's Grow-a-row. I only wish I had more time to devote to them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand it into other areas. Clone them. Figure out how to franchise them. They are a model organization, serving a truly great cause in a very cost-effective and time-effective manner. They are called "America's Grow-a-Row", but are located only in New Jersey. I think the rest of the country could benefit from having agencies like AGAR!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

The AGAR staff truly appreciate the volunteers and show it in all their work. I love being able to volunteer with my family, and my children are learning a valuable lesson about giving back to the communities of NJ. I am so glad they are addressing such a important need for so many people. Somehow they make hard work fun.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give it an unlimited budget!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Both my family and Highlands Presbyterian Church where I serve as pastor have had wonderful service-learning experiences with AGAR through the years. Our groups have picked peaches, green beans, apples, and corn at different times and places. Not only do we learn a task that brings us closer to the earth, but we also take away the knowledge that giving of our time and energy can be good for others as well.
One year our daughter chose to have her birthday party at a nearby farm where the kids all picked apples for AGAR to be given to a food bank. It was a lot of fun and helped raise awareness with the parents and kids about this great organization and how it helps millions of people.
A group from the church went to Camden NJ one Friday to experience the Free Farm Market delivering fresh produce to people with limited access to it. For my congregants this program of AGAR gave them a chance to step out of their comfort zone and interact directly with folks who live in a place which gets very bad press. This opportunity transformed the issue of poverty and hunger into something personal and real.
I appreciate the good communicators at AGAR - Leena, Chip, Jules, Heather, Sally, etc. - are all folks who are personable, knowledgeable, and dependable leaders in this organization and it has been a joy to work with them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Spend more time as a part of it

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

AGAR is the gold standard when it comes to non-profits. Chip and his team have such amazing energy around their mission of providing freah, healthy food to those in need. They are diligent in ensuring every dollar donated is used effectively toward that goal. Thier large volunteer base is dedicated and provides the resources needed to harvest the produce and keep operating costs down. The Board is extremely active both on/off the farm. it is a wonderful organization and I am proud to be a member of.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a community member, donor, and volunteer, I can highly recommend without any reservation America's Grow-A-Row. It is a fantastic charity with Chip as a phenomenal leader. I am confident that donations/gratns will be used to positively impact the lives of many whether they are produce recipients or the next generation of volunteers.

I got involved with America's Grow-A-Row (AGAR) several years ago after reading an article in our local paper. As a board member of a small foundation, I was always looking for local 'grass-roots' charities that we would want to consider for a donation. We would often search for smaller charities with low overhead costs where dollar for dollar we could have the most impact – help the most people. AGAR was perfect.

At the time AGAR was in its early stages of development and just finalizing its 501c3 status. Since then, I cannot begin to tell you how inspiring it has been to watch Chip Paillex and his team at AGAR develop the program into a huge success donating over 1,700,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food to people in need. Chip's passion and enthusiasm are endless. He has cultivated a large volunteer base and ensures every dollar equates to more lbs of fresh food.

In 2008, my son's 2nd grade class went on a field trip to the AGAR farm to plant string beans. The children learned about hunger, fresh food, and, most importantly, the importance of giving back. AGAR's model is inherently sustainable spawning the next generation of philanthropists and volunteers.

The field trip led to an idea to start a garden at the school. With Chip's help and guidance, the team of school volunteers (teachers, parents, and students) started a garden. The first crop was harvested in the summer of 2011 and continues today. During the school year the garden is used for hands-on learning as well as a source of fresh foods for lunch!

AGAR is reaching further with the Newark Area Hunger Relief and Healthy Eating Program. This program features the two key elements that make AGAR the special not for profit they are: 1) the delivery of approximately 35,000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce to Newark and Jersey City through Free Farm Markets, and 2) the hosting of 250-300 youth from these communities at AGAR’s farm in Pittstown, NJ. The delivery of food to one of the nation’s worst “food desserts” attacks a major issue, availability. While it may be hard for us to believe, the greater Newark area lacks access to fresh, affordable produce. This program assures healthy produce gets into the hands and onto the plates of those suffering from hunger. However, AGAR doesn’t stop there. Hunger is only one aspect of a complex issue. The second part of the program addresses education. The program provides hands-on opportunities for youth from the Newark area to visit their farm in Pittstown, NJ where they harvest crops and learn about the importance of healthy eating. The experience for these kids is life altering. It provides them with an education on healthy eating, with skills they can use to grow their own food, and illustrates the power of giving back. My husband and I always look forward to volunteering for a youth day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None, other then help them to grow by donating routinely

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

Awesome place. I love the staff....they are just so friendly. The work was fun, too. More importanty, my time at AGAR was meaningful. Blessings to Chip and family!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Create more jobs and then advertise. I am a Theology and Ministry student and...I would love to work there.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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